Avoiding political views on our site…Not always easy…

View from our front porch while we stayed in Falmouth, England, in August 2019.

We both agree that each individual has a right to their opinions, regardless of how controversial their preferred topics may be today. At one time, we could sit around a dinner table, sharing our views while others listened attentively. But no more.

Times have changed, and we are best to keep our controversial opinions to ourselves to avoid offending others and appearing to impose our views on those with conflicting views. Then again, there are situations in which we may find ourselves in the presence of others whom we know think as we do, creating an open forum to discuss our views. But, in today’s world, these situations are few. Instead, many of us keep our opinions to ourselves.

I often review the world news, searching for a topic for the day’s post, but I find most stories reflect a viewpoint that may be construed as political and contrary to the views of many of our readers. As a result, we avoid such articles and subsequent stories to maintain our stance of staying neutral in our posts over 11 years later.

It’s a challenge avoiding expressing our views when most topics in today’s world are considered to have a political bent of one source or another. Each time I sit down to prepare the day’s post, on many occasions, I start to write, only to find myself abruptly stopping and deleting everything I’ve written so far, feeling the topic is too controversial for our site.

Over the years, we’ve promised our readers we’d stay neutral and have strived to maintain that stance. When talking in a group about our site, we often say we avoid discussing politics, religion, and sex, three taboo topics in this type of venue.

In 2020, while India was in lockdown, varying views about COVID-19 and other topics became more glaring than ever. We were at a loss for content. After all, we had no exciting activities during that time. The highlight of our days consisted of my walking the corridors for exercise to the tune of 5 miles, 8 km each day, while Tom ran up and down the stairs to the parking garage.

During that time, I perused Facebook for longer periods than I’d ever done in the past. But, during that period, I found many Facebook posts that consisted of hateful opinions and vitriol. Sure, we were all confined and frustrated, but I couldn’t justify hatefulness regarding the views of others, especially those who disagreed with the opinions of many others.

It was during that time I was bursting at the seams to express my views on seeing hateful posts on Facebook, and I prepared one of our posts  on March 30, 2020, with the heading reading,

“Please “unfriend me” if…Social media during lockdown…”

(Click on the above heading to read that post).

I don’t promote adding more friends to my Facebook account. Overall, I preferred to keep the number of “friends” on my profile to a minimum to avoid it becoming overwhelming, keeping up with many people I didn’t know, their photos, and their birthdays. However, I have welcomed some of our readers who have invited me to become a friend.

Uploading that post during that problematic time brought me considerable relief to have expressed my views on this topic. As I’ve mentioned, we seldom run across any “haters” and prefer to keep it that way. Subsequently, we keep many of our views to ourselves.

Thank you to all of our readers for keeping our site kind, friendly, and considerate, with pleasant and meaningful comments and email messages. We promise to continue on the path of keeping our site neutral and unencumbered by contentious and controversial opinions.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 18, 2014:

We ducked our heads under Casper’s chin. Our faces hurt from smiling while we were with the two Elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary. After our experiences the prior day in Kruger National Park, learning more about these massive animals was timely. For more photos, please click here.

Photos from 10 years ago…Comments from readers regarding yesterday’s whiney post…

Our ship, the Celebrity Century as it went under the Bridge of the Americas, soon to be demolished in 2014 when the new locks open in 2014. A newer bridge, the Centennial Bridge, will be considerably higher to accommodate huge ships.

Note: Today, we’re including photos from ten years ago in January 2013, of our transit through the Panama Canal, for the first time. See the post here.

When our readers read our posts, they often don’t see comments made by other readers on previous posts. Today, we’re sharing two comments posted after yesterday’s post here. When comments are posted at the end of any post, I can review them before posting them, adding our response.

Long ago, we wrote that we don’t care to post negative vitriol, bullying, and “hater-type” comments. Fortunately, over the past ten-plus years, we haven’t received more than a handful of such comments, a few of which we’ve mentioned here anonymously. We may reveal the first name of a commenter but never list last names, email addresses, or personal information.

A container freighter ahead of us in line to enter the first set of locks, the Miraflores Locks.

After writing for so many years, we aren’t as sensitive about receiving negative comments. Still, we feel it is important to post comments that may not agree with our lifestyle or how we handle situations. Let’s face it, there’s no rule book on how to live as nomads, although thousands have written books and articles on their personal experiences.

When we read some of these articles and a few books, we found the author’s experiences are very similar to ours. Even recently when we met readers/friends Lisa and Sam (and their friends Karen and Stan, also world travelers), it was ironic how alike our experiences have been, including locations, joyful and meaningful events, and of course, an endless stream of trials and tribulations. Living this life is fantastic, but it, like everyday life, has its ups and downs.

Yes, yesterday’s post was whiney by any standards. I hesitated to take it to the degree I had, but once my fingers started flying over the keyboard, I couldn’t seem to change my attitude sufficiently to take a different turn.

The opening of one of the double set of gates at the locks.

Funny, today it’s even hotter with a high of 104F, 40C with constant high humidity. Yes, we still have all that “paperwork” hanging over our heads that we’re chipping away at bit by bit. But it is a new day, and with that often comes a new attitude and a new sense of getting through it all with grace and ease.

Below are two of the comments we received after uploading yesterday’s post:

  1. Our reader/friend Bob wrote:

“Whining is a much-needed release nothing wrong with it, especially the trial and tribulations you sometimes endure be safe, be happy, be healthy.”

Our response:

Bob, thanks for your support. Wherever one may live in the world, there are challenges. We empathize with all of you in Minnesota and many other states where residents are dealing with excessive amounts of snow, and frigid temperatures, creating hardships and risks for all. Our issues are not unlike yours, just a little different.

Thanks for writing once again.

2. Our reader/friend Karen wrote:

“Come back to the US. Buy an RV and wander Mexico and South America. Might be fun with less hassle.”

Our response:

“Karen, thanks for your input, and we appreciate your comment. Traveling through Mexico is not the safest place at this time, as is the case in many parts of South America as is the case in many countries, including our own US. Also, owning and maintaining an RV does not appeal to us. It’s a different lifestyle than ours. Like everyone else, there are challenges wherever they may live in the world. In our attempt to always “tell it like it is.” Yesterday’s post expressed the frustration that we freely shared with our readers. To pretend that all is ideal during challenging times would be unfair to our readers in painting an unrealistic picture of this nomadic and home-free lifestyle.”

Here I am perched atop our viewing area at the bow of the ship, in air-conditioned comfort. We reserved these excellent seats at 5:15 am!

Avoidance of discomfort and ease of living is impossible regardless of how hard we may try. For example, I apply insect repellent three to four times each day and again before going to bed, and yet, I awoke this morning with no less than 20 new bites, many of which will itch for two or three weeks. The same thing would happen when we lived in Minnesota and spent an evening outdoors in the summer wearing repellent.

Retirees living year-round in Arizona, unable to afford a separate home in a cooler climate in the summer, often experience temperatures much higher than we’re experiencing now. Summer in Nevada, our state of residence, is ultra hot in the summer months, comparable to the temps we have today. No, their humidity doesn’t compare to ours in the bush, but it still feels like stepping into an oven when heading outdoors.

We were exhausted after an early start on the long day of Panama Canal viewing, but joyful and grateful for the experience. All we needed was a good night’s sleep.

Then, we consider that 13% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to electricity. In South Africa, 11% of households don’t have electricity. Load-shedding is not an issue for any of these people. But, then again, it’s all relative. As much as we feel sad for those denied essential utilities, it doesn’t prevent those of us in South Africa, without power as many at 11½ hours a day, from complaining.

Yesterday, the water ran out when Tom was taking a shower. He was unable to wash the soap off his body. The reservoir runs dry when there is lots of load-shedding, as there’s been over the past many months.

Sure, we could spend a small fortune on a motorhome to tour the US. But in that case, we could also run out of water, fuel, WiFi, electricity, and modern conveniences. Plus, the maintenance, repairs, emptying the head, adding water, and frequent driving don’t appeal to us by any means, let alone the added cost of parking at campsites and paying for supplies, fuel, and groceries along the way. Our cost of living in South Africa, compared to an RV lifestyle, is about 60% less.

If our visa extensions are approved, we’ll leave the bush in a mere five months, not to return for about a year.

To sum it up, yes, we may whinge some more over these hot summer months in Africa, getting more bites, dealing with more annoying paperwork, more power and water outages, and whatever else might come our way. But, if we lived in a nice, cool senior high rise in any city in the US, surely we’d find something to whinge about there. Human nature.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 19, 2022:

Vultures, on the lookout, for possible prey for possible carrion. For more photos, please click here.